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Community Manager at Edutopia

"A poet is, before anything

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"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language."
-- W. H. Auden

Connected to that thought is that it's also a wonderful way to introduce a love of language.

5th grade teacher in Lisle, IL

We did a unit on poetry last

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We did a unit on poetry last year as well. We began with free verse, which allowed to students to just write and enjoy the process. Then we explored writing on the same theme but from different points of view. Over time, different forms were taught and students explored each one.
Each student created an anthology of their favorites, which they then performed for parents at a "poetry cafe". The student grew to really enjoy poetry.
This year, I hope to have a poem a day. This will give students the opportunity to become more expressive with their reading as well as more fluent with the different types of poetry appropriate for their age.

co-founder I am Bullyproof Music

This is beautiful. You are so

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This is beautiful. You are so right. Clever presentation is a great place to begin with younger kids. Wondering if you like spoken word poetry. It's obviously too mature for a fourth grade class but it seems a great way to inspire teens to write themselves. We have our own students write poems in lyric format then help them turn poems into songs.
I personally love using poetry as a way of teaching kids to dig deeper on any subject. "How about writing a song about...." then pick a topic they will need to investigate. Rhyming organizes one's brain and is rather magical in itself.

I teach at the Writing Lab at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO.

Nice approach to introducing

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Nice approach to introducing poetry to the class. I was particularly struck by the passage, "We read aloud and bobbed our knees to demonstrate rhythm and meter, and filled in the blanks to guess the rhyming words." Such kinesthetic learning creates a strong pathway to retaining new concepts.
I think using Dahl and Silverstein is fine for introductory purposes, but I think it is important to include more challenging poetry as well. I've had success as well with getting the students to write their own poetry.
I wonder how you think this approach might work with high schoolers. I suppose scaffolding and careful poetry selection is still in order, but I don't know that Dahl or Silverstein would cut it with teenagers. For example, do you think the kinesthetic activities would work for older students in teaching them about rhythm and meter?
Dahl and Silverstein are popular writers. Were any of your students already familiar with the writers, and did that change the dynamic of teaching poetry?
In particular, I wonder whether you ever experienced, as I have, students who feel you are wasting their time with poems they already know, or that they feel may be too childish?

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